Wallace-linked tables go under the hammer

Two antique Regency tables which may have had a colourful link with Scots hero William Wallace were being sold at auction today.

Two antique Regency tables which may have had a colourful link with Scots hero William Wallace were being sold at auction today.

The items are reputed to have been made from the timber of an oak tree in which Wallace was hiding when he was captured.

Valued at up to £30,000, the pair of tables are to be sold by auctioneer Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh.

The tables were made by Edinburgh cabinet maker William Trotter in the 18th century for the Speirs family, who had bought much of the land in the area of Wallace’s family home at Elderslie, Renfrewshire.

The tree came to be known as ‘‘Wallace’s Oak’’ and was protected by the Speirs family until it was blown down in a gale, said Philip Gregory of Lyon and Turnbull.

The Speirs link with the area dates back to 1767 when a Glasgow tobacco lord, Alexander Speirs, bought land at Elderslie.

‘‘The tree was a bit like the Berlin Wall of its day - people would come and take a bit of it as a souvenir,’’ said Mr Gregory.

It is thought the wood was made into tables.

‘‘We can’t categorically say that these tables were made from that wood, but all the records and history of the house and family point to that being the case,’’ said Mr Gregory.

Descendants of the Speirs family have been in the area ever since, although Elderslie House, the family seat built in the late 18th century, was demolished in 1824, he said.

The house that replaced Elderslie House is being sold by the family, who now live in England.

The tables are among the contents which will go under the hammer at the Edinburgh sale.

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